We’ve been discussing today that one of the chief virtues pursued and prayed for by the desert fathers and mothers was the gift of humility.
We often mis-identify humility. We think it means to think less of ourselves; to take the smaller portion, to believe others are greater than ourselves. We mis-identify true humility with thinking we are of nothing, worth nothing, etc.
In truth, the early church fathers and mothers taught a very healthy sense of humility. They wanted individuals to be aware of just how special they were, just how loved they were; and then to recognize that all others were as beloved as they! Humility has to do with being able to see ourselves in the same place as everyone else.
Earlier in the week, I was reviewing my notes from the Rule of St. Benedict – adapted for monastic communities years after the initial desert fathers and mothers – and I had highlighted quite a bit of Chapter 7, on Humility. It is interesting to look at the Rule in relation to the earlier monks, and to see where some of our modern conceptions – or misconceptions – of humility began to appear in monastic life.
I vaguely remember a poem to this effect, that we are amazing creations of God and so are all our neighbors. I may have to rediscover it! In the meantime, may you know how blessed and loved by God you truly are; and may God work in your heart that you can view all others the same way, too.